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Top Tech Trends: Predictions For 2017’s Hottest Products

Anyone who tries to look too far into the future, whether they’re a world-famous technology expert or simply a layman, is likely to be wrong. With the lightning speed at which tech developments now unfold, long-range forecasting is a dangerous business. We have our own set of predictions to offer, but we’ll only dare to look ahead to 2017.

ipad-iphone-and-earphones

Home Automation and Smart Home Technology

Most dramatic tech innovations start slowly after they hit the market. That’s partly because few consumers are early adopters, but also because many won’t commit to a product until winning and losing technologies shake out. Those who jumped on the Betamax train early, for example, ended up with a box that didn’t do them much good in the long run.

Google Home

Image credits https://madeby.google.com/home/

The early days of smart home automation featured a number of companies, large and small, offering smart systems and apps that wouldn’t play well together. The battle isn’t over yet, but the growing dominance of Apple HomeKit, Google Home and Amazon Echo over the last year has identified most of the big players who will be left standing. And since are all expert at providing a seamless user experience, we expect 2017 to see a flood of new connected automation systems, IoT (Internet of Things) appliances and smart home devices which will work hand-in-hand with Siri, Alexa and Google (couldn’t they have come up with a real name?).

The new year should see a dramatic boost in home automation products and usage.

Physical-Digital Integration

It’s amazing how quickly our virtual and real lives are beginning to merge. We can lie in bed at night, order a product from Amazon on our phone and (in some cities) have it waiting for us on the porch the next day. Or we can send a tweet to Dominos and be eating 30 minutes later.

2017 will see greater integration than ever between the digital and physical worlds. Expect to see greater penetration of Amazon’s Wi-Fi Dash Button, which lets you reorder products from toilet paper to soda with the push of a button; the Google Home and Amazon Echo smart home assistants mentioned earlier (“Alexa, please call an Uber for me”); and the Echo Dot, a smaller, portable version of the Echo.


Virtual and Augmented Reality

Now that Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and HTC Vive have hit the market, virtual reality product production has gone into overdrive with dozens of new VR headset models and hundreds of VR games expected to hit the market in 2017 – even though customer response has so far been lukewarm. The Pokémon Go phenomenon also has game designers scrambling to find the next breakthrough augmented reality game for release in the new year.

playstation-vr

Image credits https://www.playstation.com/en-au/explore/playstation-vr/

But the biggest impact we’ll see in VR and AR in 2017 should be in the business world, with the technologies being adopted and implemented for everything from training and sales demos, to the manufacturing of product prototypes.

3D Printing

No, 3D printing isn’t just cool or emerging technology – it’s here, and will grow exponentially in importance in 2017. Replacement car, airplane and even body parts (well, prostheses) are already being printed in large numbers; even many elementary school kids are working with 3D printers in their STREAM labs.

In the coming year prices for both printers and supplies will start to come down dramatically. While that may not mean a 3D printer in every home just yet, it will mean that you’ll be seeing an increasing number of printed parts and other 3D products like jewelry and clothing for sale online by innovative marketers.

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